The Pryor Times

March 15, 2014

Chouteau talks clean up, annexation and revenue

Staff Writer
Cydney Baron

PRYOR, OK — The Chouteau Board of Trustees met Monday and discussed community clean up, progress and growth.

Four properties were listed on the agenda in need of clean up; 1404 N. Iroquois St., 1001 N. Delaware St., the Swift property on West Main Street, and the James property on East Main and North Fourth Streets.

There was an agenda item to send a letter to the owners allowing them 10 days to clean up their property before a citation is issued.

The owner of the property on Iroquios Street, according to the board, has been warned before.

“And this makes 60 or 90 days for Swift,” said board member Cecil Lane.

One board member said Swift hauled a trailer of trash from his property and took it to another of his properties on Harris Street.

The Harris Street property was added to the list of properties to receive notice. Lane said there is a city ordinance against properties becoming a public nuisance. Mayor Jerry Floyd said the city is going to start enforcing the ordinance, as the appearance of the town is preventing businesses from choosing to move to Chouteau.

In regard to a request to place a 16-foot by 80-foot trailer on East Jones Street, the board voted no.

“Andy Brown had this old shack down there and he left the property to his daughter,” said Floyd. “There’s a city ordinance against her putting a trailer there. It’s one block past the trailer park limit.”

Chouteau Fire Chief Ted Key said the property is also in the flood plain, which prohibits the trailer. The board voted no, declining the woman’s request.

The board approved a series of requests in a process of exploring annexation of properties north of town.

They approved a request for the town to “obtain abstracting services for an abstractor’s certificate of ownership on property within the area of possible annexation not to exceed $1,500.” Next, the board authorized the town to obtain “professional services from a land surveyor for the purpose of preparing the legal description for possible annexation not to exceed $4,000.”

Finally, the board authorized the town attorney, Ben Sherrer, to perform legal services in conjunction with possible annexation, not to exceed $3,500.

Board member Brenda Cunningham said the property for possible annexation contains Denny’s restaurant and several motels.

“None of the managers want that annexed, so that killed it,” Floyd said.

“No,” Cunningham said. “No, I’m not going for that. If we need to start over. Let’s do it, let’s do this. This is funding for the police department and fire department. If this is what it takes to get us there, let’s do it.”

“There are other ways to skin this cat. There are properties west of town. We run calls out that way and they aren’t opposed to annexation,” said Key. “And these motels are staying at 90 percent occupancy because of Google projects, GRDA’s upcoming projects and other construction.”

Key said the potential revenue from annexation could be $150,000 each for the police and fire departments.

“That would go a long way for both of us. We could replace an employee we lost with that,” said Key. “It could also be $200,000 in the city’s general budget.”

Key said that according to the current  hotel/motel tax fund, police and fire each get 47.5 percent and the dog pound gets five percent.

“I’d rather fail going forward than not move forward at all,” said Key.

“I don’t know why anyone would not want to move forward,” said Cunningham.

Floyd said he’s worked on this for some time, and approached the managers years ago.

“That’s $200,000, we could start fixing some streets for that,” said Key.

“I’ve been on this board for 10 years, we’ve talked about it this whole time. I’m sick of talking about it,” said Cunningham. “Let’s do it or be done with it.”

Ultimately, Floyd made a motion to approve all three steps toward annexation, and the board voted in agreement.